2014 Mini Max Award winners

Here are the Delco recipients:

Collin DiGalbo, Bonner-Prendergast

John Minicozzi, Episcopal Academy

Derek Mountain, Haverford School

Diego Zubieta, Penncrest

Adam Krauter, Springfield

Players were nominated by their coaches throughout the 2014 season and were evaluated based on a criteria that includes; football performance, academics, and community service.

The Maxwell Football Club will select one player from the group of Mini Max winners as the winner of the Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year.

District One AAA Championship: Springfield is ready to make (more) history

SPRINGFIELD — There’s an edge to Springfield, one that only an undefeated team can have.

It’s not swagger and it’s not cockiness, but it’s a confidence that permeates throughout the roster.

As quarterback Brian Allen said, Friday night’s District One Class AAA final has been in the working since the summer. Coming into the year, Springfield was considered a team that could make noise in the Central League. So, the Cougars went ahead and beat everyone. They defeated reigning champion Garnet Valley on the way to claiming the program’s first Central League title in 20 years, and they finally won a District One playoff game.

The Cougars have done most of their business in dominating fashion.

It’s no surprise, then, that Springfield finds itself on the doorstep of greatness. The Cougars look to become the third straight Delco football team to win a District One Class AAA crown and the fourth in five years. Interboro and Academy Park won in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Strath Haven won it all in 2010.

Springfield and Great Valley meet Friday night at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School. Opening kickoff is 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by Marple Newtown’s radio crew on Marplenewtownfootball.com.

“We’re ready,’ Allen said. “It’s something that the community has been waiting for for a long time now. Everyone has worked hard to get here, and this is what we’ve prepared for. Coaches were harping on this since June, that our time will come, and now it’s time to make it count. I don’t doubt our team will get it done. We’ve prepared for this moment.’

Allen led the Cougars (12-0) on a game-winning drive last week in the Cougars’ 10-6 victory over Pottsgrove in the semifinal round.

Great Valley (11-1), which disposed of Bishop Shanahan, placed second behind West Chester Rustin in the Ches-Mont League American Division. The Patriots have a slew of explosive weapons, including Nasir Adderley, a multi-faceted wide receiver/running back who does most of his damage out of the slot. He has 697 yards receiving and 430 on the ground. Adderley is a threat in the return game, too, and has totaled 16 touchdowns.

“That Nasir kid is a real good player. He probably poses the biggest threat of them all. Of course there’s the running back (River Johnson) you have to worry about, but he’s pretty good,’ said Allen, who has totaled 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air and 995 yards and 12 scores on the ground. “All year long, our defense has played against good teams and they’ve been clutch for us the whole time, so I’m not worried about our defense holding them down.’

Allen might have to carry a little extra weight in the Springfield offense, which managed 163 total yards against Pottsgrove. Leading rusher and senior Colin Braconnier went down with a knee injury and is doubtful for Friday. Brad Murphy, who contributed a few key runs on last week’s winning drive, likely will start in Springfield’s spread offense attack. Junior fullback Ricky Sterling is also an option out of the backfield.

Springfield has made its mark as a defensive team, and it will be challenged Friday night like never before. Cougars senior lineman Brian Layden (21 sacks) and All-Delco linebacker Adam Krauter will have their hands full against the Patriots in the trenches.

“I know they’re good players with quick steps, and that’s the main key,’ said Layden. “Once they get their hands on you, it’s tough. It’s always a hand fight. The big kids aren’t the problem, it’s the fast kids, and they have a few of those.’

One of the most underrated aspects to Springfield’s defense is its propensity to create turnovers. They lead all Delco with 16 interceptions. Luc Spence is tied for the county lead in interceptions with six. Fellow defensive backs Pat Smyth and Mike Fleagle have five and four, respectively.

“In the second half of the season, we have gotten a lot of picks and that’s worked out for us,’ said the Lehigh-bound Spence, an All-Delco lacrosse player. “Between me and the other corners, it’s like a personal challenge between us. We just want to be the one that has the ball, to make plays for the D. When the opportunity presents itself, we know we have to step up and take the ball from the other team. We do 7-on-7s a lot. Our cornerback coach (Chris Tolar), we’ve been with him since freshman year. He’s really helped us a lot.’

Great Valley runs a spread offense with quarterback Zach Ludwig at the helm. Ludwig has thrown for 1,580 yards and 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. In addition to Adderley, Ludwig’s other targets include tight end Ryan Buchholz (218 yards, two TDs) and wide receiver Doug Strang (26 receptions, 352 yards, four TDs). Buchholz, who has nine sacks as a defensive end, is committed to Penn State.

The Cougars secondary should be tested often, but they’re not about to back down. Springfield has allowed just 8.8 points per game largely because its defense is the best in the county. They’ll also have to deal with Johnson, the running back who has 923 yards and 12 touchdowns.

It’s also a reunion of sorts for Great Valley first-year coach Dan Ellis, a state champion quarterback at Downingtown High. Ellis, of course, was head coach at Springfield from 2008-10. Chris Britton, the top man on the Springfield sideline, was an assistant coach for Ellis.

“At this time of year, you’ve got to be physical and you’ve got to play good defense,’ Ellis said. “Right now, both teams are doing exactly that. When it comes to trying to score points against them, we have to get a hat on a hat, making sure we’re calling good plays to what they’re doing and make those adjustments. Offensively, we have to figure out a way to contain Allen and try to take away his running ability. That’s what’s scary about them. You can cover them perfectly, but all of a sudden, you got a kid in Allen who can run and take off.

“They’re a typical Delco team. Layden, for instance, might weigh 175 pounds but he’s going to kick you in the teeth and he’s going to play hard. He doesn’t care how big you are. And that, as a whole, is the kind of team they are. They’re going to be hungry and we’ve got to try to score one more touchdown than they do.’

All-Inter-Ac League teams

As selected by the Inter-Ac League coaches…

 

First Team

Frank Cresta – DL – Jr – Haverford

Kashta Davis – DB – Sr – Germantown Academy

Brian Denoncour – OL – Sr – Haverford

Paul Dooley – QB – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

Evan Ferrell – TE – Jr – Penn Charter

Eric Follman – DL – Sr – Haverford

Mick Gindhart – DL – Sr – Haverford

Julian Jamgochian —  OL – Sr – Haverford

Micky Kober – LB – Jr – Haverford

Noah Lejman – LB – Sr – Haverford

Sameir Madden – DB – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

Syaire Madden – RB/DB – So – Springside Chestnut Hill

Hayden Mahoney – OL – Sr – Malvern

Jimmy McAfee – Specialist – Jr – Germantown Academy

John Minicozzi – OL/DL – Sr – Episcopal

Trevor Morris – WR/LB – Sr — Malvern

Dylan Parsons – WR/DB – Sr — Springside Chestnut Hill

Jacob Rebisz – OL – Sr – Malvern

Jack Soslow – K – Sr – Haverford

Nick Zarkoski – DL – Sr – Malvern

 

Special Recognition: Pat McInerney – OL/LB – Sr – Penn Charter

 

Player of the Year:      Paul Dooley – QB – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

Dox Aitken – Wr/DB/P – Jr – Haverford

 

Second Team

Dee Barlee – RB – Jr – Episcopal

Ryan Calhoun – DL – Sr – Germantown Academy

Kevin Carter – QB – Sr – Haverford

Pete Ciesielski – DL – Sr – Malvern

Zac Fernandez – RB – So – Malvern

Alex Hornibrook – QB – Sr – Malvern

Payden Howard – OL – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

Jordan Johnson – WR – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

James Keating – DB – Sr – Malvern

Jake Martilotti – LB – Sr – Episcopal

Pat McCain – WR – Sr – Penn Charter

Sean McCann – LB – Sr – Springside Chestnut Hill

Mike McCarthy – OL – Sr – Malvern

Frank McGlinchey – DL – Sr – Penn Charter

Derek Mountain – WR – Sr – Haverford

Lane Odom – DB – Sr – Haverford

Ryan O’Neill – TE – Sr – Malvern

Chauncey Simmons – OL – Sr – Haverford

Micah Sims – DB – Jr – Haverford

 

View From The Sidelines: Springfield finds a way, Garnet Valley runs out of steam

Springfield quarterback Brian Allen overcame individual struggles to lead the Cougars on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. His 11-yard TD run proved to be the difference. Allen and the Cougars face Great Valley in the District One Class AAA final Friday night.

Springfield quarterback Brian Allen overcame individual struggles to lead the Cougars on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. His 11-yard TD run proved to be the difference. Allen and the Cougars face Great Valley in the District One Class AAA final Friday night.

I was at Garnet Valley-Pennsbury and Dennis Deitch covered Pottsgrove-Springfield. Plus, the best columnist in the biz, Jack McCaffery, caught up with Delco legend Steve Joachim and wrote about his impact as the quarterbacks coach at Springfield.

Let’s start with Springfield. I wasn’t there, but it sounds like I missed a great one. A ton of credit goes to Springfield’s defense, which might be the best Delco has seen in years, with all due respect to this year’s Haverford School (I know it’s debatable!). This unit is something special. All three areas — d-line, linebackers and secondary — are sharing the credit. All-Delco middle linebacker Adam Krauter, who had over a dozen tackles along with outside LB Ricky Sterling, sealed the win with an interception. DBs Pat Smyth and Luc Spence also had picks.

It was no surprise to see Allen overcome adversity to will his team to victory. What a great leader and a great quarterback he’s been for the Cougars. It’s amazing to think how far he’s come in 2014. Last year, as a junior alternating snaps with Charlie Carbin (who is now a starter on the Cougars’ offensive line), Allen showed flashes of his potential but also had a nasty habit of turning the ball over. He never could put it altogether.  He’s probably been the most improved player in the county. In some ways, though, Allen has had a quiet year. That sounds silly, considering the kid always finds his name and picture in our paper, and he’s guided the Cougars to a perfect 12-0 record. I say “quiet” only because that Springfield defense is so good and won the team a lot of games this year.

Allen has told me in interviews this year that the defense deserves most of the credit. However, Allen always vowed to get better, and he has. He might not throw four touchdowns and 200-plus yards a game, but he’s a gifted, well-rounded, smart, and invaluable player.. Allen is five yards away from becoming the first 1,000-yard passer/rusher in a season by a Delco quarterback since… I’m still trying to figure that one out. It’s been quite a while. Adam Strouss of Episcopal Academy, who is playing at Penn, came close to accomplishing the feat in 2012. Brian Ingram was a dual threat for AP last year, but didn’t reach 1,000 yards on the ground, either. Remember Ridley great Colin Masterson’s epic 2009 campaign? He only rushed a little over 500 yards the year he led the Green Raiders to the PIAA Class AAAA title game.

Well wishes go out to senior RB Colin Braconnier, who’s been an underrated performer for the Cougars the last two seasons. Braconnier was injured against Pottsgrove and  stretchered off the field. Here’s to a speedy recovery for one of the team’s most respected players. Kudos to Brad Murphy for stepping up in Braconnier’s absence and getting some big yardage in the fourth quarter to set up Allen’s go-ahead TD.

Springfield takes on Great Valley for the District One Class AAA championship next week. GV first-year coach Dan Ellis is the former Downingtown High great and is remembered best in Delco for his four-year stint as head coach at Springfield (2007-10). Chris Britton, Springfield’s first-year boss, was a defensive assistant for Ellis. That makes for some interesting storytelling this week. This district final was meant to be!

———

Garnet Valley ran into a buzzsaw Friday night. I left the field pondering exactly how it all went south for the Jags, who trailed Pennsbury 17-14 at the end of three quarters. They were in the game, they had a chance to pull off the upset. However, the host Falcons found another gear and reeled off 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. It all happened so fast.

As I wrote in my game story, the Jags allowed one too many big plays. Pennsbury RB Charles Snorweah is a gifted talent, but the Falcons also received contributions on the ground from quarterback Mike Alley. The Jags simply couldn’t keep pace with the plethora of offensive weapons that Pennsbury has at its disposal. You have to like Pennsbury’s chances against Upper Dublin in the District One Class AAAA semifinals.

 

A glance at this week’s District One playoff schedule

Only three Delco teams remain in the District One playoffs.

In Class AAAA, No. 7 Garnet Valley (9-2) hits the road to take on second-seeded Pennsbury (10-1), which survived a shootout against 15th-seeded Downingtown West in the first round. The Jaguars, meanwhile, dominated 10th-seeded Central Bucks South, 36-15.

Pennsbury is an explosive offensive team as evidenced by last week’s performance. Leading the way is running back Charles Snorweah, who exploded for 432 yards and seven touchdowns. To put that in a local perspective, Snorweah’s single-game rushing total would rank second all-time in Delco.  Pennsbury has been a very good defensive team, but struggled mightily the last two weeks. There are vulnerabilities that quarterback Steve Flanagan, running back Derrick West and the rest of the Jags hope to exploit.

In Class AAA, No. 1 Springfield (11-0) continued its dominance with a resounding, 27-6 decision over No. 8 Interboro. Mike Fleagle had two interceptions and a touchdown catch and Collin Braconnier rushed for a season-high 144 yards. The Cougars take on a very discipline Pottsgrove (8-3) team, the No. 4 seed, which disposed of Academy Park, 13-12. Pottsgrove’s defense was able to keep the Knights’ playmakers at bay.

It’s hard to imagine Pottsgrove can match up with Springfield’s stifling defensive front, buoyed by linebackers Adam Krauter and Ricky Sterling, and linemen Brian Layden, Matt Cella, Dan Archibong and Josh Sweeney.

Finally, Delco Christian (8-2) plays in the District 1/12 Class A championship game for the second consecutive year. The Knights, led by explosive running back Nazim Trammell-Wells, play Bicentennial League foe Calvary Christian in a rematch of 44-34 victory two weeks ago. Winners of seven in a row, Delco Christian is the No. 1 seed and Calvary is No. 2. DC defeated No. 4 Jenkintown last week, while Calvary beat No. 3 KIPP Dubios of the Philadelphia Public League.

Full District One playoff coverage… all weekend

Pick up a copy of today’s Daily Times for game-by-game previews of tonight’s District One Class AAA and AAAA playoff contests.

Follow our game updates on Twitter using the hashtag #delcofootball

FRIDAY

District One Class AAA

(8) Interboro at Springfield (1), 7 p.m.

(5) Academy Park at (4) Pottsgrove, 7 p.m.

District One Class AAAA

(16) Haverford at (1) Coatesville

(10) C.B. South at (7) Garnet Valley

Note that Pottstown Mercury will be on hand for Academy Park-Pottsgrove game.